Microsoft, USO Open 'Above and Beyond' Voting

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2007 - Americans can now visit an online ballot to cast their vote for five people whose extraordinary contributions to the U.S. military go above and beyond the call of duty.

With the first "Above and Beyond Awards," Microsoft Corp. and the United Service Organizations, or USO, will publicly honor the outstanding commitment, exceptional service, sacrifice and achievements of individuals who have shown extraordinary dedication to brightening servicemembers' lives over the past year, according to the awards' Web site. From hundreds of promising nominees, officials have narrowed the field to 14 finalists in the following five categories:

-- The Effort Award: Presented for providing outstanding support and comfort to troops, and enhancing their morale and personal welfare. The recipient inspires other groups or individuals to create new and unique ways to show their support of the troops through widely influential guidance or mentorship.

-- Medical Attention Award: Presented for providing superior medical attention to the wounded and injured. The recipient makes a broad impact across multiple communities, providing guidance, mentorship and resources to better the lives of the wounded. He or she inspires others to enhance their own support.

-- Promotion and Success Award: Presented for outstanding impact and success in generating promotional support for the USO. The recipient provides selfless commitment to promote and create awareness of the USO, and helps enhance the morale and personal welfare of troops.

-- Every Day Difference Award: Presented to someone who makes a difference in a seemingly small, but significant way to improve servicemembers' quality of life. The recipient is an unsung hero who makes the most of personal (non-financial) resources to positively affect servicemembers' basic needs or way of life.

-- Youth Leadership Award: Presented to a youth leader -- age 17 or younger -- who champions and represents outstanding troop support. The recipient organizes self-generated or motivated individuals or groups that provide genuine support to the troops, and shows his or her troop support through innovative and unique ways.

Additional information about the 14 finalists can be found at: The awards will be presented at a Nov. 12 ceremony in New York City.

*Related Sites:*
Above and Beyond Finalists [ ]

Microsoft, USO Open 'Above and Beyond' Voting [ ]